From America's Test Kitchen Season 4: Pot Roast
The long braise that a pot roast needs can result in either a succulent roast or a dry, bland disappointment. We wanted our pot roast to be fall-apart tender with a savory sauce—a meal that would be worth the wait. We first determined that chuck-eye is the best choice for pot roast; its fat and connective tissue break down and keep the meat moist during the long oven stay. Browning the meat first was important for flavor as well as color. Caramelizing the vegetables with a little sugar added another layer of flavor. For the braising liquid, equal amounts of beef and chicken broth tasted best; and we added just enough water for the liquid to come about halfway up the sides of the roast and prevent it from drying out. Before we moved the roast into the oven, we covered the pot with foil and then covered with the lid for a tight seal, so no steam (or flavor) escaped. The secret to tenderness is in the cooking time. Cook the meat in the oven until it reaches 210 degrees internally, then cook it for an hour longer. The reward is moist, flavorful meat that is also remarkably tender.
Serves 6 to 8
For pot roast, we recommend a chuck-eye roast. Most markets sell this roast with twine tied around the center. If necessary, do this yourself (see illustrations, "How To Tie A Top-Blade Roast," below). Seven-bone and top-blade roasts can also be used for this recipe. Remember to add only enough water to come halfway up the sides of these thinner roasts, and begin checking for doneness after 2 hours. If using a top-blade roast, tie it before cooking (see illustrations, "How To Tie A Top-Blade Roast," below) to keep it from falling apart. Mashed or boiled potatoes are good accompaniments to pot roast.